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Advice for Landlords on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

In September the Prime Minister announced that landlords will no longer be required to meet the minimum EPC minimum energy rating of C by 2025 (for all new tenancies) and 2028 (for existing tenancies).

Despite a consultation starting back in 2020, the proposed legislation hadn’t progressed through Parliament and no doubt many landlords who faced increased costs and a shortage of tradespeople to carry out the necessary work heaved a sigh of relief.

But it is important to realise the respite may only be temporary: whatever the outcome of the next general election, there is a strong likelihood that the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) or something similar will reappear.


Furthermore, energy efficiency is increasingly becoming a necessity both due to the cost of living and the climate emergency. We know from our own research that it’s something our clients take very seriously, whether they’re buying, selling, letting, or renting. According to our recent survey, almost three quarters (70%) of respondents nationwide would like their property to be more eco-friendly. More than half (56%) said that they would specifically seek out a property with these qualities, while two-thirds (66%) revealed they would choose a property with eco-friendly features to buy or rent, over one without.

Although landlords may welcome the opportunity not to spend on substantial work while mortgage rates remain high, in many cases it will be prudent to take the long view: any work carried out now will help with future regulations, as well as reducing your carbon footprint, and providing a more energy efficient home which could attract a higher rent.

Green Building Renewables, concerned that fewer than half of landlords were prepared for the proposed introduction of MEES, carried out some research which indicated the changes being considered by landlords. In order of preference, these included new boilers (37%), insulation (36%), solar panels (29%), LED lighting (29%), and heat pumps (23%).

The Energy Saving Trust provides some very useful information on the various means of achieving energy efficiency, with information bespoke to the size of a property. It advises, in relation to a range of potential improvements, what a typical installation would cost, how much can be saved annually in energy bills and how many kilograms of CO2 emissions can be saved, based on a detached house, semi detached house, mid-terrace house, detached bungalow or mid-floor flat. 

The number of options available, along with the knowledge that accompanies it, is constantly growing – did you know, for example that there are at least eight types of heat pumps available for use in houses - air source, air-to-air, cascaded, exhaust air, ground source, hybrid, solar assisted, water source?

The relative benefits of the range of options available (which include cavity wall insulation, double glazed windows or energy efficient doors, draught-proofing gaps and cracks, energy efficient boiler, LED light bulbs, loft insulation, smart meters, solar panels, solid wall insulation) depend on technical specifications such as wall types and planning restrictions (such as the building being in conservation area, or the property being listed), your reasons for making the change, your budget and whether you intend to carry out the work yourself or use a professional.

As the National Residential Landlords Association said shortly after Sunak’s U-turn, with energy use in residential properties accounting for around a fifth of UK carbon emissions, the private rented sector has an important role to play in reaching Net Zero.  

And making the changes can be financially prudent: Legal & General research shows that 13% of renters are willing to pay a premium for a low carbon property - allowing landlords to recoup the costs. With tenants’ bills reduced by £276 a year on average, landlords can recoup the initial outlay and derive longer term benefits from their investment.

There is evidence, too, that investing in energy efficiency is a wise investment.  

According to Buy Associaiton, over half of portfolio landlords use EPC ratings as an investment tool, buying properties rated D or lower, and using the EPC structure to determine the necessary renovations to generate a higher resale or rental price. The figure is higher among those with the most properties, decreasing in line with the number of properties owned. It is substantiated by research from Hamptons in 2022 which revealed that property investment trends are leaning towards more energy-efficient buildings, with 50% of investors buying properties rated A-C, up from 39% in 2021 and 33% in 2020.

Similarly, green mortgages can be an astute financial investment due to the preferential rates that they offer.

Whether you wish to put additional investment into your portfolio, gain a higher monthly income, help your tenants or the increasingly necessary and widely acknowledged aspiration to meet net zero, increasing the energy efficiency of a property is undoubtedly of value.

* Kim Lidbury is Group Director (Property Management) at Leaders Romans Group *

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    There is no benefit to a Landlord to invest vast sums for tiny savings for tenants. Any supposed savings will be gobbled up by the extra rent needed to be charged to recoup the landlord’s costs. Then there will be those who exit the market because of this making the supply and choice even worse than it already is . After near 30 years of providing homes I could be one of them. This only has 3 aims. Remove a section of landlords and to create a huge pool of income for large business and of course a vast amount of tax generated because of all this change. I am all for helping improve the climate, but with far worse pollution created by others and little being done to address that I find it very difficult to support this approach.

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    I will be doing only one thing, selling, nothing could be said to make me spend god knows what on the properties I have to see hardly any extra return 🤔 selling up makes the most sense. I am also just “ ready” to call it a day.

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    Cue Gibbo in 3, 2, 1.

    Like the others I look at these EPC recommendations, scratch my head and wonder at them. 🤔 Who in their right mind would spend £10,000 to save £59 per year for example? Note, I said RIGHT MIND, not a net zero fanatic. 😂

  • Karen  Flynn

    Like all the other comments - I m selling up as my properties become free. Easier to invest the money released and no hassle.
    They re going to get the housing market (ie shortages) they deserve .

    A friend in Scotland is doing the same , she is currently chasing two tenants (one ex) for unpaid rent and property damage

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    A great many energy saving upgrades require the occupant to adapt their behaviour. Without the full understanding and cooperation of the tenant some "improvements" can result in mould and damp issues.

    Too many influencers are giving completely half baked money saving advice which tenants take as gospel. It doesn't matter how many leaflets we give them on the subject, TikTok must be right.

    How many of us have tenants who refuse to open windows, shut trickle vents, never use extractors, dry laundry on airing racks, don't understand their heating controls and then whine about mildew in the wardrobe?

    How many of us have tenants who scream about January's gas bill being unaffordable but forget to mention the summer gas bills were less than £30 a month?

    I'm all for energy saving measures where they are going to be beneficial but I'm not convinced about upgrades in houses where tenants clearly don't understand the basics about heating and ventilation.

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    • K B
    • 09 March 2024 12:11 PM

    Just got an EPC and advised if I spend the annual rental income I could save my tenant £700 a year.
    Yes I’m selling


    😂👍🏻😂 I know, they’re delusional 🫣

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    Anthony, agree we are no longer allowed to operate obstructed at every turn not least draconian licensing Schemes by moron leaches that spend years wasting taxpayer money going to Universities.
    Now in suits allegedly HMO inspectors that are there to damage you as much as possible with their invented job, couldn’t do a real, virtually uncontactable takes forever to deal with anything and on leave when you call.
    Where is the optimism in PRS they are having a laugh, the Renters Reform Bill, Section 24, Section 21 the foundation of all. The highest SDLT, How 2 Rent, Right 2 Rent and big penalties if you get it wrong, Deposit rubbish Scheme that can prevent you using S.21, same goes for R2R if you didn’t serve October’23 version forget about the other 13 versions in recent years, if you didn’t give them the EPC prior to signing the Contract it could be nil & void. 2015 De-Regulation Act if Tenants complain about the damage they done you are guaranteed to get fined.
    Licensing farce and I have most licensed 4 times but more requirements or different requirements each time.
    Hats off to the Landlords that didn’t comply the vast majority, on checking the register recently which they try to prevent you from seeing.
    One Road of 64 houses about 80% let and should be licensed only 2 licensed mine & 3 times in the past another one same road licensed application made 14 months ago when they took 30% of the fee up front they are so inept they haven’t dealt with the app’ or collected the other 70%. This is the story on every other Road I checked where I have property. I have thousands & thousands spent on compliance requirements but the property or the Tenants are better off only the Councils. We must be accredited, must have a Ombudsman, must have a Redress Scheme, must be the most appropriate person, must pay taxes through the nose,
    Yes I am feeling very optimistic on the back of all this.

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    EPC the more the Climate is Warming the more insulation we need, shouldn’t it be other way around, when we were freezing had no Central Heating and had no insulation either ?.


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